It is the mission of the Minnesota Lottery to raise money for programs that positively impact the lives of Minnesotans. As the calendar prepares to turn to 2020 and we near our 30thanniversary, it is important to reflect on the good work done with Lottery dollars across the state. 2019 was a record sales year for the Minnesota Lottery and that means the Lottery delivered its biggest win yet for Minnesota, returning a record $153.2 million to the state. For every dollar spent on Lottery products in Minnesota, 24 cents are returned to the state to fund state programs; including the General Fund, Natural Resources Fund, Game & Fish Fund, and support for responsible gambling and the treatment of problem gambling. In addition, Lottery dollars fund the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund (ENRTF), a permanent fund created to finance projects for the public purpose of protecting, enhancing, and conserving the state’s wildlife and other natural resources.

Each year, the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR) makes funding recommendations to the Minnesota Legislature on how Trust Fund dollars should be allocated. In 2019, the LCCMR recommended 68 projects to be funded, totaling nearly $54 million. After taking their recommendation into consideration, the legislature ultimately chose to fund 82 projects in 2019, totaling approximately $64.5 million. These projects are located all over the state and deal with important issues like water resources, invasive species, air quality, and wastewater treatment.

Some of the 2019 projects include:

  • A University of Minnesota-Duluth Natural Resources Research Institute project to build and install den boxes across northern Minnesota to serve as habitats for fishers and other wildlife impacted by the loss of large trees in their native forests.
  • Efforts by the University of Minnesota, College of Veterinary Medicine initiative to develop diagnostic testing for chronic wasting disease impacting the deer population in Minnesota.
  • Initiatives by Camp Sunrise and Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness to expand educational opportunities to students from diverse and underserved populations across the state.
  • The planting of over 15,000 native trees and plants along the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area to offset trees lost to Emerald Ash Borers.
  • A new initiative to increase diversity in environmental careers through internships and mentorships at the Department of Natural Resources, the Board of Water and Soil Resources, and the Pollution Control Agency.
  • Funding for the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center to develop solutions to Minnesota’s aquatic invasive species problems.
  • Installation of a new community-owned solar garden for the White Earth Nation.
  • Trail development and extension along a number of state trails around Minnesota.
  • Efforts by the University of Minnesota to develop new technologies that would use microbes to break down and convert plastic waste into useful chemical compounds and fuels, lowering their harmful impact on the environment.

Since 1991, the ENRTF has provided $630 million in support to approximately 1,600 environmental projects collectively impacting every county in Minnesota. Lottery proceeds have been instrumental in providing a long-term, stable source of funding for environmental protection for future generations. These critical funds have preserved habitat and statewide lakes, rivers and streams; enhanced state and regional parks; fought invasive species; and been a tool for innovative outdoor environmental education.